Echinacea is the most commonly used & well known immune herb. Indigenous cultures in North America have used this herb to tonify the immune system for almost 500 years. Today, it’s benefit remains, and there’s a reason it’s the number one herbal immune supplement.
AKA Purple Cornflower, Echinacea purpurea can be seen growing along trails all over Ontario, blooming its beautiful purple flowers in the fall – it looks like a purple daisy. Fall is the best season to use echinacea, as it traditionally supports the upper respiratory tract in fighting the colds & flus that occur annually at this time. Mother Nature is helpful this way – a plant will be ready to be harvested at the exact best time, when it is needed most.
Herbal properties include antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. In addition to combatting cold & flu viruses, it can be used in the treatment of serious viral conditions such as HIV and many cancers. In fact, it’s indicated for yeast infections, asthma, hay fever, tonsillitis, UTIs, and many other conditions. Not only is it used to treat the above, but prevent these illnesses too.
As a blood and lymphatic cleanser, it’s also detoxifying. It’s been used to remove poisons from the body, and heal cuts/burns/wounds. It’s anti-inflammatory action stimulates the natural steroidal hormones within the body, supporting joint, skin and lung health.
For the herbalists reading this, herbs that pair well in an herbal formula are Astragalus, Andrographis and Holy Basil.
Lastly, antioxidants are an important part of any diet. Regular consumption of antioxidants helps to lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Echinacea has many healthy antioxidants that include selenium, Vitamin C, flavonoids, zinc, and beta-carotene.
Next time you’ve got a cold, consider turning to an herb like echinacea for support.